“The Professional Skills Module has been an absolute joy to be a part of and I would 100% recommend it to anyone who wants to expand their CV and gain invaluable experience”

I was invited to meet second year German and History student Miles Dabbs on his last day at award-winning independent museum Coffin Works where he has worked over the past few months as part of the Professional Skills Module. I spent some time with Miles and Museum Manager Sarah Hayes as they shared their own personal experiences of the Professional Skills Module.

Why did you choose the Professional Skills Module? 

Miles: I really wanted to gain some experience in the Heritage sector as I have found that it can be really tricky to get into. When the opportunity came up to gain week-by-week experience, as opposed to a short one-week work experience programme, I jumped at the chance.

“It’s so important to gain a range of experience as soon as possible. This is the perfect chance to immerse yourself within a company – you have the world at your fingertips.” – Sarah

What did your role at Coffin Works consist of? 

Miles: My role mainly consisted of Business/Marketing but I got to try my hand at lots of different things and I was always happy to help with different tasks along the way so that I got a real sense of all the different aspects of working within a museum.

Sarah: We were keen to give Miles a real breadth of experience, if a student has a more focused idea of what area of heritage they wish to specialise in, then we can focus the tasks a little bit more but as Miles was keen to try anything, we really wanted to make sure he got a full sense of what we do here at Coffin Works.


What have you enjoyed most about the Professional Skills Module? 

Miles:  I really enjoyed the range of activities that I got to complete during my time here. Every week has been different and that was really important to me. I was worried that my time would be spent photocopying and making tea but that couldn’t be further from the truth. I’ve been able to spend my time working on really rewarding projects and I’m leaving the placement feeling like I’ve made a real impact during my time here.

Sarah: He’s completely right. It’s so important to me and to Coffin Works as a company that we make sure that our placement students leave us feeling as though they have learned something. We are aware that the heritage industry can seem unaccessible at times and as a team, we’ve all been on internships that have just consisted of photocopying and making tea – therefore it is incredibly important that Miles and other students feel as though they are valued and appreciated members of the team which is crucial in inspiring the next generation. A good cup of tea is always nice though!

“I’ve been given the chance to work on projects that never would have been possible without the Professional Skills Module” – Miles

Do you think the Professional Skills Module is beneficial? 

Miles: Absolutely. My CV now demonstrates that I’ve been able to consistently dedicate my time to my placement rather than just the odd week of my summer which I think will really work in my favour. It’s a great way to show future employers that you are dedicated and ready to commit yourself to any role.

Sarah: Miles is right, he has shown absolute dedication to the module which is really admirable, he even showed up in all the snow! For us, the Professional Skills Modules means that we have a fresh pair of eyes in the office, as a young guy/girl who are the exact demographic that as a museum, we are constantly aiming to attract, the advice and presence of placement students within the office is incredibly valuable and appreciated by all the members of the team.

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Can you describe the Professional Skills Module in three words? 

Miles: Friendly, inspiring and diverse.

Sarah: Rewarding, eye-opening and most importantly enjoyable!

“Placement students are incredibly important to us and we will always do our very best to make them feel at home with us. We are always open to fresh ideas and perspectives and constantly aim to inspire future leaders of the Heritage sector.” – Sarah 

Would you recommend the Professional Skills Module? 

Miles: Without a shadow of doubt, yes! The Professional Skills Module has been an absolute joy from start to finish and I would 100% recommend it to anyone who wants to expand their CV and gain invaluable experience.

“If I could do it all over again, I would in a heartbeat. I don’t want to leave!” – Miles